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Updated: 15 September 2004

Message Of The Day Chebucto News Archive

Sunday! Chebucto at Word on the Street

Chebucto Community Net and the Halifax Regional Community Access Program will be sharing a booth at this year's Word on the Street literacy festival at Pier 20 on the Halifax waterfront Sunday, September 19th, 2004. In celebration of Chebucto's 10th anniversary, there will be birthday cake as well as presentations and a chance to win a 17 inch flatscreen Compaq V710 monitor with our Solve 6 contest, co-sponsored by Halifax Regional CAP Association and Brilliance Computers, Kempt Road in Halifax.

Solve 6 Contest

To play the Solve 6 contest, click on the Solve 6 link above. Contestants go to six different Chebucto Community Net and Halifax Region CAP Association websites and answer the six questions to be found there. The sixth clue will be given at Booth 25 at Word on the Street between 11 AM and 3 PM with the draw for the winner to be held there at 3 PM.

Chebucto Board member resigns

Reg Hody, Chair of the Chebucto Internal Committee resigned last week. He was elected to a two year term at this past year's Annual General Meeting. Director Bill Matheson has agreed to be the new Chair of the Internal Committee and a nominating committee has been tasked with finding a new Director to fill the remainder of the two year term.

The Board of Directors is the group of 12 volunteers charged with running the Chebucto Community Net. Any person with a paid up membership in the Chebucto Community Net is eligible to become a Director, whether the membership is Assisted, Full, Supporting, Sustaining or any of the Family membership categories. Please consider volunteering. Technical knowledge helpful but not essential. Interested parties can send an email to with a brief write-up about themselves.

Live Webcam Coverage
of the 2004 Parade of Sail success

[Graphic: Working
on the Chebucto webcam.] Chebucto volunteer Andrew Wright manned the webcam at the top of Fenwick Place all afternoon Monday August 2nd 2004 for the tallest view of the Parade of Sail in Halifax. There will be a photoessay posted soon. Some 50,000 visitors to the Chebucto website dropped in to enjoy the show. This is down somewhat from the previous Parade of Sail held in 2000, which was held on a regular work day rather than a holiday.

Internet security news - new updates available!

Internet security continues to present an ongoing problem for computer users and will continue to do so for the forseeable future. Users must protect themselves and their computers from being taken over and used for illegal purposes.

Windows XP users should download and install Service Pack 2, a rewriting of the Microsoft Operating System which includes security fixes and program updates as well as an improved built-in firewall to help protect against network attacks on the computer. This important update is free to download from Microsoft Windows Update and is recommended for our users.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser, used by the majority of people on the Internet and bundled with the Microsoft Windows Operating System has been the subject of a number of reports recently pointing out vulnerabilities and security issues. The popular web browser has been targetted by virus writers in particular seeking to break into home computers to use them for criminal purposes such as sending out spam, sending out viruses to break into other computers and being used to disrupt services on other computer systems.

In light of this continuing and worsening problem, we recommend to our users not to use the Internet Explorer web browser (except for accessing Microsoft's own Windows Update site). We recommend users download and use the free Open Source Mozilla Firefox web browser, available for download at no cost at Mozilla Firefox has been updated this week to a new and improved version. Other browsers are available for users to use as well. A list of web browsers available for download can be found here. Please note that many of these listed browsers are still using Internet Explorer as their base.

While Microsoft has put up many Internet Explorer related patches on their Windows Update site and we strongly recommend users download these patches, there are almost daily accounts of other, still unpatched, security issues. Still, many users of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Internet Explorer do not keep up to date with patches, leaving themselves particularly vulnerable to having their computers exploited. Chebucto Community Net has the policy of immediately suspending Internet access for computers which have been detected as being infected.

New secure online renewals

The Chebucto Community Net is pleased to announce that we can now offer secure online credit card payments for Chebucto membership renewals and service fees. The new service, available from our home page or directly here, uses Internet standard 256 bit high-grade encryption to transmit credit card information securely to Chebucto's server in Halifax. Once there the information is stored using 1024 bit encryption. Transactions are processed next business day.

There is currently no known way to break 256 bit encryption except to try all possible 256 bit keys. There are 1.1 x 10 77 (a number with 77 zeroes after the one) such keys and estimates on how long to try them all range into several hundred trillion years. The 1024 bit encryption used to store the information on Chebucto's server has 1.7 x 10 313 possible keys and is even more secure. The service is temporarily using a secure certificate issued by the Chebucto Community Net which users must accept before they can access the site. This temporary certificate offers the same 256 bit encryption as a regular secure certificate.

Incoming mail more than 92% garbage

chart of June 2004 mail

In June 2004, Chebucto Community Net received 2,312,880 pieces of mail. Of this amount, 1,898,924 pieces (82.10%) were tagged as spam and 241,204 pieces (10.43%) were caught as viruses. A mere 7.47% of the mail was delivered to user mailboxes or 172,752 emails.

In the chart above, daily mail totals for the month of June 2004 are represented. Blue is the total amount of mail that came in that day, dark red is the spam, orange is viruses and finally green is the mail delivered to user mailboxes. A small portion of the delivered mail is actually spam that slipped through the spam filters, but there is no way to determine how much of that there is.

Chebucto joins ACORN-NS

Chebucto Community Net has joined ACORN-NS, the Atlantic Canada Organization of Research Networks - Nova Scotia. As a result, Chebucto users can now enjoy the best possible connections to universities, schools and major Canadian research centres, with routes in some cases more than ten hops shorter than this time two months ago. Each hop between two computers adds lag time to all communications between them; the fewer hops, the better and faster the connection. Chebucto Community Net is now peered with all the major Nova Scotia networks except Aliant, the telephone company, which for reasons of its own will not enter into a peer relationship with any local Nova Scotia network. In a peer network, all traffic is treated as if it was local, thus is faster, more direct and there is no cost for bandwidth between the peers.

In addition to the network benefits from belonging to ACORN-NS, Chebucto Community Net is now part of a number of major projects ACORN-NS is involved in, such as the Metro Dark Fiber initiative, which is putting in high speed networking capacity for future use around Halifax.

New 1-800 Access for Plus!

Chebucto Plus users needing dialup access while travelling across North America can now connect using a toll-free 1-800 Access number. Time on the 1-800 Access line is booked in advance in one or two hour increments, $6.00 per hour or $10 for two hours. 1-800 Access details here

The 1-800 Access service has been a popular request for some time now. For the present, 1-800 Access is good only from anywhere in North America but if demand is sufficiently high, it could conceivably be expanded in the future.

Cool Chebucto hats available!

[Photo: Cool Chebucto hat - click to see larger photo]   We have available these excellent quality Chebucto Community Net hats. Click on photo to see larger version. These fashionable stone coloured washed cotton Chino twill hats are low fitting with adjustable strap and antique silver ring buckle for a perfect fit and are embroidered with the Chebucto Community Net logo and web address. Machine washable and drip dry with a pre curved peak, this hat will provide years of comfortable wear as well as showing your support for Halifax's own one-of-a-kind independent Community Net.

You can get your very own Chebucto Community Net hat from the Chebucto office for $20 or we can mail it out to you for an additional $10.

Chebucto Newspaper Column Give-aways!

[Photo: New Chebucto Mousepad] Chebucto's Mousepad newspaper column, written by Chebucto Board member Mark Alberstat with occasional help from some fellow Chebucto volunteers, is now archived here at Chebucto. The column is published every second week in the Sunday Chronicle Herald. The Mousepad focuses on computers and internet technologies and how they can be used by people for an almost infinite variety of purposes. People can write in questions to the column and if they are used they will get a cool new Chebucto Community Net mousepad. Email questions to the Mousepad at

Chebucto mousepads may be purchased from the Chebucto Office for $5 each or mailed out for $15 each. Contact to order.

Chebucto Users still tops in *.NS.CA SETI processing

SETI, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, has been processing their radio telescope data with home users' computers for years now. Using an innovative screensaver which runs whenever the user computer is not in use, SETI has had more than 2,059,000 years of high quality computer processor time donated to it.

Of all the computer domains ending in the letters NS.CA, denoting Nova Scotia, now ranks number one, producing more than double the results of both the government of Nova Scotia and the vast resources of EdNet, the schools network combined. Current stats here. Chebucto users have sent in more than 33,000 results, representing more than 57 years of CPU time that would otherwise have been wasted.

In project news, re-observation of 226 points in the sky containing many of the best candidates generated from the first two years of SETI@home data has resulted in no positive matches. Researchers are currently working to identify a new set of candidates for re-observation using the remaining data while more comprehensive sky surveys using newer hardware are carried out. The SETI software is in the process of being upgraded and is now integrated with BOINC, a distributed computing platform which will allow home users to split their computing power among different projects at the same time.

Outlook user email advisory

After many reports about vulnerabilities for Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express email programs, and the constant stream of user complaints about randomly altered program settings and difficulty using the program, the Chebucto Community Net Office and the Chebucto Technical Committee recommend our users do not use either Outlook or Outlook Express as their email program.

Windows Users can find a selection of email programs available for download here and Macintosh users can find a selection of email programs here. Mozilla Thunderbird, available free for Windows, Macintosh and Linux from is a popular alternative.



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